Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Science X Newsletter Wednesday, Apr 19

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for April 19, 2017:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

First evidence for higher state of consciousness found

Ultraviolet spectroscopic evolution of a tidal disruption event investigated by astronomers

Islands on Titan may actually be bubble streams

Rechargeable 'spin battery' promising for spintronics and quantum computing

Newly discovered exoplanet may be best candidate in search for signs of life

Water is streaming across Antarctica: New survey finds liquid flow more widespread than thought

Protein in human umbilical cord blood rejuvenates old mice's impaired learning, memory

Graphene 'copy machine' may produce cheap semiconductor wafers

New microscopy method breaks color barrier of optical imaging

Captive meerkats at risk of stress

Canary in the kelp forest: Sea creature dissolves in today's warming, acidic waters

With beetroot juice before exercise, aging brains look 'younger': study

Research unlocks molecular key to animal evolution and disease

Fertility can hinge on swimming conditions in the uterus

Key leopard population 'crashing', study warns

Astronomy & Space news

Ultraviolet spectroscopic evolution of a tidal disruption event investigated by astronomers

(Phys.org)—An international team of astronomers led by Jonathan S. Brown of the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, has studied the ultraviolet spectroscopic evolution of a nearby low-luminosity tidal disruption event (TDE) known as iPTF16fnl. The results of this study, published Apr. 7 on arXiv.org., offer new clues on the nature of this TDE.

Islands on Titan may actually be bubble streams

(Phys.org)—A team of researchers from several institutions in France and Mexico has developed computer models that simulate conditions on Saturn's largest moon Titan showing that some of the islands on the planet's surface may be made of bubble streams. In their paper published in the journal Nature Astronomy, the team describes how they built their model and explain how bubble streams could form on the surface of Titan.

Newly discovered exoplanet may be best candidate in search for signs of life

The newly discovered super-Earth LHS 1140b orbits in the habitable zone around a faint red dwarf star named LHS 1140, in the constellation of Cetus (The Sea Monster). Red dwarfs are much smaller and cooler than the Sun and, although LHS 1140b is ten times closer to its star than the Earth is to the Sun, it only receives about half as much sunlight from its star as the Earth and lies in the middle of the habitable zone. The orbit is seen almost edge-on from Earth and as the exoplanet passes in front of the star once per orbit it blocks a little of its light every 25 days.

Tiny probes hold big promise for future NASA missions

Sometimes to find the best solution to a big problem, you have to start small.

The arrhythmic beating of a black hole heart

At the center of the Centaurus galaxy cluster, there is a large elliptical galaxy called NGC 4696. Deeper still, there is a supermassive black hole buried within the core of this galaxy.

Living with a star: NASA and partners survey space weather science

NASA has long been a leader in understanding the science of space weather, including research into the potential for induced electrical currents to disrupt our power systems. Last year, NASA scientists worked with scientists and engineers from research institutions and industry during a pair of intensive week-long workshops in order to assess the state of science surrounding this type of space weather. This summary was published Jan. 30, 2017, in the journal Space Weather.

Close call: When asteroids whisk past Earth

A peanut-shaped asteroid 1.3 kilometres (3,280 feet) across streaked past Earth on Wednesday, giving astronomers a rare chance to check out a big space rock up close.

Cassini heads toward final close encounter with Titan

NASA's Cassini spacecraft will make its final close flyby of Saturn's haze-enshrouded moon Titan this weekend. The flyby marks the mission's final opportunity for up-close observations of the lakes and seas of liquid hydrocarbons that spread across the moon's northern polar region, and the last chance to use its powerful radar to pierce the haze and make detailed images of the surface.

Our discovery of a minor planet beyond Neptune shows there might not be a 'Planet Nine' after all

Ever since enthusiasm started growing over the possibility that there could be a ninth major planet orbiting the sun beyond Neptune, astronomers have been busy hunting it. One group is investigating four new moving objects found by members of the public to see if they are potential new solar system discoveries. As exciting as this is, researchers are also making discoveries that question the entire prospect of a ninth planet.

Pilot, meteorologist vying to be first German female astronaut

A fighter pilot and a meteorologist have made the finals in the race to become Germany's first female astronaut.

Trump to call commander of International Space Station

President Donald Trump will speak next week to the commander of the orbiting International Space Station.

NASA engages the next generation with HUNCH

NASA is making sure the next generation of high school graduates understand the variety of career paths that can lead to missions exploring space. In fact, hundreds of students are already helping NASA's astronauts live and work aboard the International Space Station - the orbiting research platform making discoveries that benefit Earth while developing the technology that will allow humans to live and work in deep space.

Video: Space debris—a journey to Earth

Space debris - a journey to Earth takes the audience on a journey from the outer solar system back to our home planet. The objects encountered along the way are manmade. Originally designed to explore the universe, these are now a challenge for modern space flight. An estimated number of 700,000 objects larger than 1 cm and 170 million objects larger than 1mm are expected to reside in Earth orbits.

Aalto-2 satellite launched into space

In the evening on Tuesday 18 April, Aalto-2, the satellite designed and built by students in Otaniemi was launched on the Atlas V booster rocket towards the International Space Station orbiting the Earth. It will take the cargo spacecraft Cygnus about three days to reach the International Space Station.

Technology news

Virtual reality: Do you feel that wall?

(Tech Xplore)—Researchers are thinking on the lines of raising the bar on the virtual reality experience— by adding haptics to virtual reality walls and other heavy objects. Instead of your fingers passing right through every virtual wall you encounter in a game, you would feel barriers.

Economical water system could bring fresh water and renewable energy storage to drought-stricken coastal regions

Many highly populated coastal regions around the globe suffer from severe drought conditions. In an effort to deliver fresh water to these regions, while also considering how to produce the water efficiently using clean-energy resources, a team of researchers from MIT and the University of Hawaii has created a detailed analysis of a symbiotic system that combines a pumped hydropower energy storage system and reverse osmosis desalination plant that can meet both of these needs in one large-scale engineering project.

Making batteries from waste glass bottles

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside's Bourns College of Engineering have used waste glass bottles and a low-cost chemical process to create nanosilicon anodes for high-performance lithium-ion batteries. The batteries will extend the range of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and provide more power with fewer charges to personal electronics like cell phones and laptops.

Facebook out to read minds

Facebook wants to read your mind.

GM announces China version of hybrid Volt

General Motors Co. plans to make and sell a gasoline-electric hybrid version of its Chevrolet Volt in China, as Beijing presses global automakers to promote alternatives to gasoline.

Yahoo earnings beat expectations on cusp of Verizon merger

Yahoo on Tuesday reported quarterly earnings that topped expectations as the pioneering internet firm remained on track to be bought by Verizon.

Volvo announces plans to export China-made electric car

Volvo Cars, the Chinese-owned Swedish automaker, said Wednesday it plans to make electric cars in China for sale worldwide starting in 2019 amid pressure by Beijing for global auto brands to help develop its fledgling industry in alternatives to gasoline.

'Space fabric' links fashion and engineering

Raul Polit-Casillas grew up around fabrics. His mother is a fashion designer in Spain, and, at a young age, he was intrigued by how materials are used for design.

Are we prepared for the consequences of technology

Most Americans have some form of digital technology, whether it is a smartphone, tablet or laptop, within their reach 24-7.

Device meant to feed astronauts on Mars may first make debut in Africa

The same piece of Purdue University-developed technology that may one day feed astronauts on Mars is being adapted to improve production of instant porridges and other ready-to-use products in several African countries.

New technique for investigating the action of molybdate on carbon steel

In the search for corrosion-resistant treatments for carbon steel that are non-toxic, A*STAR researchers have developed a technique for investigating the effectiveness of a corrosion inhibitor that is safer and environmentally friendly.

Inflight Wi-Fi highlights challenges of satellite broadband delivery on land and in the sky

Qantas switched on its free inflight internet service trial on April 7, with Virgin set to launch its own similar program later this month.

Pattern discovery over pattern recognition—new way for computers to see

Jim Crutchfield wants to teach a machine to "see" in a new way, discovering patterns that evolve over time instead of recognizing patterns based on a stored template.

Gaming helps personalized therapy level up

Using game features in non-game contexts, computers can learn to build personalized mental- and physical-therapy programs that enhance individual motivation, according to Penn State engineers.

Researchers create robotic cheetah

University of Twente researcher Geert Folkertsma has developed a prototype cheetah robot. Folkertsma has dedicated four years of research and development to constructing a scaled-down robotic version of the fastest land animal in the world, with a view to replicating its movements. Relatively speaking, the robot moves using only about fifteen percent more energy than a real cheetah. Folkertsma's doctoral defence of this unique project will take place on 21 April 2017 at the University of Twente.

Alphabet's Verily to embark on health-mapping study

Alphabet's life sciences unit Verily on Wednesday announced a study to track people for years, right down to their genetics, in a quest for insights into staying healthy.

Geeking out in the golden years

Philip Guo caught the coding bug in high school, at a fairly typical age for a Millennial. Less typical is that the UC San Diego cognitive scientist is now eager to share his passion for programming with a different demographic. And it's not one you're thinking of - it's not elementary or middle school-aged kids. Guo wants to get adults age 60 and up.

Iran blocks Telegram app voice calls: state media

Iran's judiciary has blocked newly introduced voice calls on Telegram, the most popular messaging app in the country, state media reported on Wednesday.

As live streaming murder becomes the new normal online, can social media be saved?

The Facebook Live video of the murder of 74 year old Robert Godwin Sr. by Steve Stephens has been watched at least 1.6 million times.

System detects driver's symptoms of fatigue and prevents traffic accidents

Researchers from the University of Granada (UGR) and the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV) have designed a new low-cost system that detects the drivers' symptoms of fatigue and distraction and helps prevent possible traffic accidents.

The real issue with the barmy design ideas for Trump's border wall

Trump promised his supporters a "big and beautiful" wall. Accordingly, the recent design competition required it, among other things, to look good – from the US side. Yet it seems unlikely that the wall will ever be completed. The areas where US border security deemed a physical barrier necessary and viable have already been built. The remaining sections of the border feature formidable natural barriers where countless innocent people have lost their lives.

Medicine & Health news

First evidence for higher state of consciousness found

Scientific evidence of a 'higher' state of consciousness has been found in a study led by the University of Sussex.

Protein in human umbilical cord blood rejuvenates old mice's impaired learning, memory

Human umbilical cord blood can rejuvenate learning and memory in older mice, according to a study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

With beetroot juice before exercise, aging brains look 'younger': study

Drinking a beetroot juice supplement before working out makes the brain of older adults perform more efficiently, mirroring the operations of a younger brain, according to a new study by scientists at Wake Forest University.

Creativity, a mating boost for the unattractive male

In the ruthless world of the mating game, plain-looking men instinctively know that being funny, smart or poetic helps to compensate for a less-than-stellar exterior.

Twin research reveals which facial features are most controlled by genetics

Research published this week in Scientific Reports uses computer image and statistical shape analysis to shed light on which parts of the face are most likely to be inherited.

Researchers show that you run more when your friends run more

When the people you know run more, you run more. And now there's data to prove it.

Gut bacteria affect ageing

It loses its pigments, its motor skills and mental faculties decline, it gets cancer – the turquoise killifish (Nothobranchius furzeri) struggles with the same signs of old age that affect many other living creatures. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing in Cologne have studied the effect of intestinal microbiota on ageing and lifespan. Their results show that older animals remain active for longer and live longer if they receive the intestinal bacteria of younger members of the species. The results suggest that microorganisms in the gut affect the ageing of an organism.

Team measures effects of sentence structure in the brain

When we learn to read, we say one word at a time. But how does the brain actually put words together when we read full sentences?

'Detective' iSHiRLoC investigates role of RNA, could help researchers study genesis of cancer

A team of University of Michigan scientists have developed a tool to help them study dysfunction in cells by tracking a molecule called microRNA, possibly giving them a way to determine how cancer occurs and spreads in the body.

Test trial suggests hallucinogenic concoction ayahuasca provides relief from depression

(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers from several institutions in Spain and Brazil has conducted test trials of a South American concoction known as ayahuasca to learn more about its impact on people suffering from depression. In their paper uploaded to bioRxiv the team describes the trials they conducted and what they found.

Study suggests menstrual-cycle syncing by women does not really happen

(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers made up of the group behind the fertility app Clue and a group at Oxford University have tested the popularly held notion that when women live or work in close proximity for a span of time, they find their menstrual cycles begin to sync with one another. But as researchers note in their article on the Clue website, such notions appear to be completely false.

The brain sets a unique learning rate for everything we do, by self-adjusting to the environment

Each time we get feedback, the brain is hard at work updating its knowledge and behavior in response to changes in the environment; yet, if there's uncertainty or volatility in the environment, the entire process must be adjusted. A Dartmouth-led study published in Neuron reveals that there's not a single rate of learning for everything we do, as the brain can self-adjust its learning rates using a synaptic mechanism called metaplasticity.

Review highlights why animals have evolved to favor one side of the brain

Most left-handers can rattle off a list of their eminent comrades-in-arms: Oprah Winfrey, Albert Einstein, and Barack Obama, just to name three, but they may want to add on cockatoos, "southpaw" squirrels, and some house cats. "Handed-ness" or left-right asymmetry is prevalent throughout the animal kingdom, including in pigeons and zebrafish. But why do people and animals naturally favor one side over the other, and what does it teach us about the brain's inner workings? Researchers explore these questions in a Review published April 19 in Neuron.

Amino acids in diet could be key to starving cancer

Cutting out certain amino acids—the building blocks of proteins—from the diet of mice slows tumour growth and prolongs survival, according to new research published in Nature.

Antibody helps detect protein implicated in Alzheimer's, other diseases

Damaging tangles of the protein tau dot the brains of people with Alzheimer's and many other neurodegenerative diseases, including chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which plagues professional boxers and football players. Such tau-based diseases can lead to memory loss, confusion and, in some, aggressive behavior. But there is no easy way to determine whether people's symptoms are linked to tau tangles in their brains.

Closer look at brain circuits reveals important role of genetics

Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in La Jolla have revealed new clues to the wiring of the brain. A team led by Associate Professor Anton Maximov found that neurons in brain regions that store memory can form networks in the absence of synaptic activity.

New blood test offers potential for faster, targeted treatment of non-small-cell lung cancer

Identification of a specific genetic mutation in patients with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) helps clinicians select the best treatment option. Potential NSCLC patients usually undergo invasive tissue biopsy, which may often be unnecessary and delays treatment. A report in The Journal of Molecular Diagnostics describes a new blood test that can accurately and quickly identify genetic mutations associated with NSCLC, allowing clinicians to make earlier, individualized treatment choices - a step forward in personalized cancer treatment.

Both low and high birth weight linked to fatty liver disease in children

A study published in the Journal of Pediatrics suggests that children born with lower or higher weight than normal may be at increased risk for developing nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). These children also were at higher risk for more severe disease, but in different ways. Advanced scarring of the liver was associated with low birth weight, while more inflammation was linked to high birth weight. The study is the first to characterize the relationship between high birth weight and NAFLD.

New test identifies patients with diabetes who are at high risk of kidney failure

Researchers from Joslin Diabetes Center have developed a prognostic tool that accurately predicts the risk of end stage renal disease (ESRD) in patients with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

WHO hails major gains against once 'neglected' diseases

The World Health Organization on Wednesday hailed "unprecedented progress" in the fight against 18 neglected tropical diseases—including dengue fever and sleeping sickness—which kill 170,000 people and disable millions each year.

'Microdosing' trend has Americans tuning in with psychedelics

After a litany of prescriptions failed to control her stormy mood swings and deep depression, writer Ayelet Waldman finally found relief in a blue vial of diluted LSD.

High blood pressure: A silver lining for ovarian cancer patients?

(HealthDay)—A woman's prognosis after an ovarian cancer diagnosis may be affected by a number of unexpected factors, new research suggests.

Master detox molecule boosts immune defenses

Scientists at the Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH) have discovered hitherto unknown molecular mechanism by which the human immune system activates its immune cells. T cells that express a gene known as Gclc effectively ward off pathogens. The Gclc gene encodes a protein instrumental for the production of a substance called glutathione—a molecule that was previously known only to eliminate harmful waste products of metabolism such as reactive oxygen species and free radicals. A team led by LIH researcher Prof Dirk Brenner has discovered that glutathione also stimulates T cell energy metabolism. When in contact with pathogens, T-cells can grow, divide and fight off intruders such as viruses. Glutathione is thus an important molecular switch for the immune system. This discovery offers starting points and perspectives to develop new therapeutic strategies for targeting cancer and autoimmune diseases. The scientists published their findings in the journal Immunity.

Doctor discusses pediatric heart pump trial

During the wait for a heart transplant, patients with advanced heart failure can be supported with a ventricular assist device, an artificial pump that helps the heart move blood through the body. But the VAD now used for babies and small children—the Berlin Heart—has drawbacks. The pump carries a 30 percent risk of stroke and is unwieldy: The driver, which sits outside the body, is about the size of a shopping cart. For these reasons, children supported with the Berlin Heart must stay in the hospital until a donor heart becomes available. This can take months.

New test for early detection of lung cancer measures tiny changes in the composition of the breath

"Inhale deeply ... and exhale." This is what a test for lung cancer could be like in future. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research in Bad Nauheim have developed a method that can detect the disease at an early stage. To this effect, they investigated the presence of traces of RNA molecules that are altered by cancer growth. In a study on healthy volunteers and cancer patients, the breath test correctly determined the health status of 98 percent of the participants. The method will now be refined in cooperation with licensing partners so that it can be used for the diagnosis of lung cancer.

What Netflix can teach us about treating cancer

Two years ago, former President Barack Obama announced the Precision Medicine initiative in his State of the Union Address. The initiative aspired to a "new era of medicine" where disease treatments could be specifically tailored to each patient's genetic code.

Patients with hearing loss benefit from training with loved one's voice

Hearing loss often is called the invisible disability, according to Washington University researcher Nancy Tye-Murray. It can masquerade as other problems, from dementia to depression, and it can make those problems worse. With an aging population, the detrimental effects of hearing loss will only grow.

Incarceration creates more mental health concerns for African-American men

African-American men who have spent time behind bars show worse mental health conditions compared with men of the same race with no history of incarceration, according to a new U-M study.

The Sense of an Ending – and why we are wired to produce false memories

How much do you trust your memories? Do you consider the events and perspectives you remember as gospel truth, or as more malleable, fickle things that bend and warp with time and shifting context?

Air pollution can be as bad for wellbeing as partner's death, say researchers

Exposure to Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) can be as bad for people's happiness as bereavement or divorce, according to a study by the University of York.

Extreme sports men and women are not adrenalin junkies, finds study

Researchers have debunked the myth that extreme sportsmen and women are adrenalin junkies with a death wish, in a recently released book.

Red blood cells derived from stem cells could offer a limitless supply for transfusions

As the Singapore Red Cross says, the need for blood never stops. But the demand for blood from living donors could become a thing of the past, as A*STAR researchers make red blood cells (RBCs) from stem cells in an efficient and reliable way.

Atlas of immune cells shows unexpected complexity, but could ultimately offer valuable clinical insights

T cells help coordinate the immune response against both infectious threats and tumors. However, this is not merely a single class of cells, but a diverse population with specialized functions and properties. A*STAR researchers have now conducted a detailed T cell census to reveal the extent of this diversity, which may inform better diagnosis and treatment of human disease.

Familial poverty affects the toddler brain function, according to a study

A study carried out by the University of Granada (UGR) has revealed that familial poverty has an impact on the toddler brain function. Infants of families with lower economic resources and a lower level of education present immature functioning and reduced ability to detect errors.

Personalised workouts to prevent heart disease designed by new digital instrument

Personalised workouts to prevent heart disease can be designed by a new digital instrument, according to research published today in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. The EXPERT tool specifies the ideal exercise type, intensity, frequency, and duration needed to prevent a first or repeat cardiovascular event.

30 percent reduction in deaths from bowel cancer

The rate of new cases of bowel cancer in Austria has fallen by around 20% in the last ten years, while the associated mortality rate has fallen by nearly 30%. This trend is primarily due to improvements in preventive screening colonoscopy, in which precancerous stages are removed before the disease can take hold. This is confirmed by a recent study conducted at MedUni Vienna and is evidence of the exceedingly high quality of screening colonoscopy performed in Austria. The diagnosis and treatment of bowel cancer are also topics being covered by the 10th European Federation for ColoRectal Cancer Congress, which is being held at MedUni Vienna from 20 to 22 April 2017.

Doctors perform world's first robotic surgery to remove kidney cancer extending into the heart

A surgical team at Keck Medicine of USC pushed the boundaries of clinical care by performing the first-ever robotic, minimally invasive surgical removal of a stage IV tumor thrombus—the removal of a kidney cancer tumor that extends into the heart.

A five-minute oral cancer screening can save your life

A routine visit to the dentist saved Joana Breckner's life.

It's false to believe that antibiotic resistance is only a problem in hospitals – GP surgeries are seeing it too

There are almost weekly alerts of the global threat of antibiotic resistance. They are often abstract and difficult for patients and GPs to relate to. More importantly, they don't help GPs realise the consequences of needlessly prescribing antibiotics.

Body dysmorphic disorder and cosmetic surgery—are surgeons too quick to nip and tuck?

Most of us have some insecurities about how we look, and some aspects of our appearance that we might secretly wish were different. But for people with body dysmorphic disorder, these issues become an obsession and constant focus of concern.

If a croc bite doesn't get you, infection will

Most people assume if you're unlucky enough to be bitten by a crocodile, then a severed limb or other severe trauma is all you have to worry about. But new research is emerging about serious infections you can catch from a bite that might kill you instead.

Post-exercise protein helps young athletes too, study shows

A new U of T study has found that children taking part in physical activity should ingest at least five grams of protein after exercise to promote healthy growth.

Artificial gelatine-based skin model that simulates human skin almost perfectly

The characteristics of human skin are heavily dependent on the hydration of the tissue - in simple terms, the water content. This also changes its interaction with textiles. Up to now, it has only been possible to determine the interaction between human skin and textiles by means of clinical trials on human subjects. Now, Empa researchers have developed an artificial gelatine-based skin model that simulates human skin almost perfectly.

Scientists provide new insights on how cancers evade the immune system

A team of scientists from Singapore has discovered new ways in which cancers can escape the body's immune system. Focusing on gastric cancer (GC), the third leading cause of cancer death worldwide, the team's findings may also prove applicable to other major cancers with potential implications for how cancers might be better treated with immunotherapy, one of the most promising classes of anti-cancer drugs today.

Children should be more involved in healthcare decisions that affect them

Few people would disagree that children have a right to participate in matters that affect them. But in hospitals this right seems to be waived. My research at hospitals in Ireland revealed that children find it difficult to have their views heard.

Genetic control of immune cell proliferation

Germinal centers are transient structures in the lymph nodes where antibody-producing B cells proliferate and differentiate at extraordinary rates. Germinal centers can be visually divided into a dark zone and light zone. For the proliferation and differentiation to occur, B cells must cycle between the two zones. Investigators at the Immunology Frontier Research Center (IFReC), Osaka University have discovered how specific genes regulate this cycling. The findings, which can be read in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, provide new insights on how certain types of lymphomas form.

Online preconception health education tool positively impacts patient care

Although health education and counseling for women of reproductive age before they conceive can positively affect their health behaviors, few preconception health promotion tools and interventions have been evaluated for their effectiveness.

Plant protein may protect against type 2 diabetes, meat eaters at greater risk

A new study from the University of Eastern Finland adds to the growing body of evidence indicating that the source of dietary protein may play a role in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The researchers found that plant protein was associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, while persons with a diet rich in meat had a higher risk. The findings were published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Noninvasive imaging test shown accurate in ruling out kidney cancers

The latest in a series of studies led by researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine shows that addition of a widely available, noninvasive imaging test called 99mTc-sestamibi SPECT/CT to CT or MRI increases the accuracy of kidney tumor classification. The research team reports that the potential improvement in diagnostic accuracy will spare thousands of patients each year in the United States alone from having to undergo unnecessary surgery.

A 'brainwave' to help fight PTSD

(HealthDay)—Technology using a patient's own brainwaves might offer hope against tough-to-treat PTSD, new research suggests.

Study on mice demonstrates the action of strawberries against breast cancer

A study by European and Latin American researchers has shown that strawberry extract can inhibit the spread of laboratory-grown breast cancer cells, even when they are inoculated in female mice to induce tumours. However, the scientists do point out that these results from animal testing can not be extrapolated to humans.

Study examines emergency department visits for patients injured by law enforcement in the US

From 2006 to 2012, there were approximately 51,000 emergency department visits per year for patients injured by law enforcement in the United States, with this number stable over this time period, according to a study published by JAMA Surgery.

Adherence to high-intensity statin drops-off for many following heart attack

A substantial proportion of patients prescribed high-intensity statins following hospitalization for a heart attack did not continue taking this medication with high adherence at two years after discharge, according to a study published by JAMA Cardiology.

Study defines thunderstorm asthma epidemic conditions

As allergy sufferers can attest, thunderstorm activity can exacerbate asthma and respiratory ailments.

Thinking of going organic?

(HealthDay)—For many people, eating healthy means eating organic whenever possible. But choosing only organic foods can take effort and be costly. So when does it make the most sense?

Strength training might help prevent seniors' falls

(HealthDay)—Older people are at higher risk for fall-related injuries because bone density and muscle mass diminish over time. But regular exercise can help keep them on their feet, research suggests.

Cell biologists discover crucial 'traffic regulator' in neurons

Cell biologists from Utrecht University have discovered the protein that may be the crucial traffic regulator for the transport of vital molecules inside nerve cells. When this traffic regulator is removed, the flow of traffic comes to a halt. 'Traffic jams' are reported to play a key role in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. The results of their research will be published in the scientific journal Neuron on April 19.

Nutrient offers hope to stop deadly march toward cirrhosis, liver cancer

A new study suggests that one type of omega 3 fatty acid offers people who are obese or have a poor diet a chance to avoid serious liver damage.

Could fixing the body clock help people regain consciousness?

For people with severe brain injuries, researchers have found that the rhythm of daily fluctuations in body temperature is related to their level of consciousness, according to a preliminary study published in the April 19, 2017, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

150-year-old drug may provide 'off' time relief for people with advanced Parkinson's disease

New research provides evidence that an old drug may provide relief for people with advanced Parkinson's, according to a study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 69th Annual Meeting in Boston, April 22 to 28, 2017.

Fewer exams and better eye health? Aye-aye, finds type 1 diabetes study

Adjusting the frequency of eye screenings for people with type 1 diabetes based on their risk of severe eye problems would result in fewer eye exams at lower cost and quicker diagnosis and treatment of advanced retinopathy, which can otherwise lead to vision loss. The findings, published April 19 in the New England Journal of Medicine, are the latest from an ongoing study funded for more than 30 years by the National Institutes of Health.

Widely disparate spending on health forecast through 2040

Spending on health care by nations is expected to increase significantly over the next two decades, but the rates of increase and sources of spending will differ widely, according to a new analysis.

Outpatient laparoscopic appendectomy is feasible in a public county hospital

Laparoscopic surgical procedures have many benefits over traditional open operations, like decreased length of stay at the hospital, less postoperative pain for patients, and earlier resumption of an oral diet. As a result, many laparoscopic procedures have been transitioned to outpatient ones. In the first study of its kind, a research team at a large, urban public safety net hospital found that outpatient laparoscopic appendectomy (surgical removal of the appendix) is safe for patients and results in shorter hospital stays and decreased health care costs, according to study results published as an "article in press" on the Journal of the American College of Surgeons website ahead of print publication. Those in the outpatient group were also satisfied with the outpatient protocol, survey results showed.

New evidence: Defective HIV proviruses hinder immune system response and cure

Researchers at Johns Hopkins and George Washington universities report new evidence that proteins created by defective forms of HIV long previously believed to be harmless actually interact with our immune systems and are actively monitored by a specific type of immune cell, called cytotoxic T cells.

More than recess: How playing on the swings helps kids learn to cooperate

A favorite childhood pastime—swinging on the playground swing set—also may be teaching kids how to get along.

New twin study sheds light on what causes reprogrammed stem cells to have different epigenetic patterns

Salk scientists and collaborators have shed light on a long-standing question about what leads to variation in stem cells by comparing induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) derived from identical twins. Even iPSCs made from the cells of twins, they found, have important differences, suggesting that not all variation between iPSC lines is rooted in genetics, since the twins have identical genes.

Research paves way for improved colorectal cancer test

The type of bacteria in your gut may help diagnose colorectal cancer. Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and other institutions have identified specific types of bacteria that seem to be abundant in individuals with colorectal cancer. Using a combination of markers specific for these fecal microbes, scientists anticipate that a noninvasive, sensitive clinical diagnostic test potentially can be developed. The study is published in Gut.

3-D-printable implants may ease damaged knees

A cartilage-mimicking material created by researchers at Duke University may one day allow surgeons to 3-D print replacement knee parts that are custom-shaped to each patient's anatomy.

Single hs-cTnT measure, non-ischemic ECG can rule out AMI

(HealthDay)—For adults presenting to the emergency department with chest pain, a single high-sensitivity assay for cardiac troponin T (hs-cTnT) below the limit of detection and a non-ischemic electrocardiogram (ECG) can rule out acute myocardial infarction (AMI), according to a meta-analysis published online April 18 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Menopause linked to accelerated decline in lung function

(HealthDay)—Menopause is associated with accelerated decline in lung function, according to a study published in the April 15 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Review: Interventions don't promote exercise in rural adults

(HealthDay)—Interventions to promote physical activity (PA) among adults have no effect in rural communities, according to a review published online April 11 in Obesity Reviews.

Iliac artery balloon catheter little benefit in placenta accreta

(HealthDay)—Prophylactic placement of internal iliac artery balloon catheters does not impact outcomes for women with placenta accreta, according to a study published online April 12 in Anaesthesia.

U-shaped correlation between body mass index, mortality

(HealthDay)—The correlation between body mass index (BMI) and mortality is U-shaped, with the optimal BMI for lowest mortality increasing with worsening diabetes status, according to a study published online April 11 in Diabetes Care.

New analysis finds Medicare program underestimates heart attack mortality rates

New analysis of Medicare's Hospital Compare portal shows the statistical methodology used to rate and compare hospitals underestimates mortality rates of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) at small hospitals. The research, titled "Mortality Rate Estimation and Standardization for Public Reporting: Medicare's Hospital Compare," appears in the Journal of the American Statistical Association.

Research team discovers how immunotherapy can fight some cancers

What if our immune system could cure cancer? This logic seems almost too simple to be true, but it forms the basis of an emerging cancer treatment—immunotherapy. André Veillette, a researcher at the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal (IRCM) / Montreal Clinical Research Institute and a professor of Université de Montréal's Faculty of Medicine, has a new article today in Nature about this rapidly developing field. Dr. Veillette and his team have discovered why immunotherapy would work in some patients and not at all in others: the SLAMF7 molecule plays a predominant role.

Team characterizes the underlying cause of a form of macular degeneration

Named for Friedrich Best, who characterized the disease in 1905, Best disease, also known as vitelliform macular dystrophy, affects children and young adults and can cause severe declines in central vision as patients age. The disease is one in a group of conditions known as bestrophinopathies, all linked to mutations in the BEST1 gene. This gene is expressed in the retinal pigment epithelium, or RPE, a layer of cells that undergirds and nourishes photoreceptor cells, the rods and cones responsible for vision.

Women more sensitized than men to metal used in joint replacement

Why are women at higher risk of complications after total hip or knee replacement surgery? An increased rate of hypersensitivity to the metals contained in joint implants might be a contributing factor, suggests a study in the April 19 issue of The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

Volunteering might prevent substance abuse for female student-athletes

More than 180,000 student-athletes from 450 colleges and universities compete in Division III sports, the largest NCAA division; nearly 44 percent are female. As substance abuse continues to be a health concern in colleges and universities across the U.S., a social scientist from the University of Missouri has found that female student-athletes who volunteer in their communities and engage in helping behaviors are less likely to partake in dangerous alcohol and marijuana use.

ACA medicaid expansions didn't increase states' spending

(HealthDay)—Federal funding insulated state budgets from increased spending related to Medicaid expansion, according to a study published in the April issue of Health Affairs.

Vaccination succeeds in dramatically reducing hepatitis B in NSW Aboriginal women

There has been a significant reduction in hepatitis B virus in Aboriginal women giving birth in NSW, with the decline linked to the introduction of the state's newborn vaccination program.

Spine surgery helps girl with cerebral palsy walk

Bhoomi Manjunatha, age five, has been able to rely less on her walker and wheelchair, and more on her own two feet, because of a surgery performed at Nationwide Children's Hospital. Her hard work and determination in physical and occupational therapy post-surgery has also helped Bhoomi continue to make strides.

Researchers lead first worldwide trial to test defibrillators in diabetes patients

Individuals with diabetes have a high incidence of heart problems, including sudden cardiac death. A study led by researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) will determine if a subcutaneous implantable cardiac defibrillator (S-ICD) increases survival in this growing group of patients.

Post-traumatic stress symptoms reduced after use of HIRREM closed-loop neurotechnology

For a series of individuals with post-traumatic stress symptoms, use of HIRREM;, an algorithm-guided neurotechnology, was associated with significant clinical improvements. Study findings were published April 19th online in BMC Psychiatry, by a team from Brain State Technologies (BST - Scottsdale, Arizona) and Wake Forest School of Medicine (Winston-Salem, North Carolina).

Gunshot injuries occur primarily in Miami-Dade's poor, black neighborhoods

Gunshot wound injuries in Miami-Dade County are clustered in predominantly poor, black neighborhoods, according to a new study from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

Focused ultrasound named one of 2016's top clinical research achievements

The University of Virginia Health System's pioneering use of focused sound waves to treat essential tremor, the most common movement disorder, has been named one of the top 10 clinical research achievements of 2016.

Moderate-severe hot flashes significantly increase depression risk

A new study of more than 2,000 perimenopausal and menopausal women showed that moderate-severe vasomotor symptoms (hot flashes or night sweats) were an independent and significant risk factor for moderate-severe depression. Researchers explored the controversial link between hot flashes and depressive symptoms by focusing on more severe forms of both conditions and concluding that there is likely a common underlying cause, as reported in an article published in Journal of Women's Health.

Telestroke guidelines from American Telemedicine Association in Telemedicine and e-Health

New guidelines to help clinicians use the latest telemedicine communication technologies to provide remote care for patients with symptoms of acute stroke are published in Telemedicine and e-Health.

New AATS consensus statement highlights safety of surgical ablation for atrial fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation, an irregular heart rhythm that can cause an increased risk of stroke, affects approximately 2.2 million Americans each year. According to projections, that number is set to double in the next 25 years. While there is no cure for atrial fibrillation, many successful treatments are available, including surgical ablation. A growing population of patients means an increased demand for care. In an effort to provide practitioners with the most up-to-date information, the American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS) assembled an expert board to study the available literature and develop evidence-based guidelines and best practices on surgical ablation for the treatment of atrial fibrillation. Their consensus statement is published in The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, the official publication of the AATS.

Pathologic complete response to neoadjuvant therapy in breast cancer patients predicts low risk for local metastases

Select breast cancer patients who achieved pathologic complete response (pCR) after chemotherapy may be able to avoid follow-up breast and lymph node, or axillary, surgery, according to new findings from researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. The study, published today in JAMA Surgery, identifies the exceptional responders who are at lowest risk for local metastases and thereby are candidates for less invasive treatment options.

Suspected meningitis epidemic kills 745 in Nigeria (Update)

A meningitis outbreak in Nigeria has killed 745 people, an increase of more than 50 percent in barely a week, officials said Wednesday, sounding the alarm over the feared epidemic.

As DNA tests become more common, researchers rapidly add equipment to keep up

Unless your career wardrobe consists of multiple white lab coats and your office has a cache of test tubes, you probably don't remember where you were when it was announced that the human genome had been sequenced.

CDC to launch awareness campaign warning of opioid dangers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention plans to launch a new ad campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of opioid addiction.

Biology news

Captive meerkats at risk of stress

Small groups of meerkats—such as those commonly seen in zoos and safari parks—are at greater risk of chronic stress, new research suggests.

Canary in the kelp forest: Sea creature dissolves in today's warming, acidic waters

The one-two punch of warming waters and ocean acidification is predisposing some marine animals to dissolving quickly under conditions already occurring off the Northern California coast, according to a study from the University of California, Davis.

Research unlocks molecular key to animal evolution and disease

The dawn of the Animal Kingdom began with a collagen scaffold that enabled the organization of cells into tissues.

Fertility can hinge on swimming conditions in the uterus

For a mammal's sperm to succeed, it must complete the swim of its life to reach and fertilize an egg. That's easier if it swims through water, not goo.

Key leopard population 'crashing', study warns

The leopard population in a region of South Africa once thick with the big cats is crashing, and could be wiped out within a few years, scientists warned on Wednesday.

Researchers create red-eyed mutant wasps

Researchers at UC Riverside's Akbari lab have brought a new strain of red-eyed mutant wasps into the world.

The tale teeth tell about the legendary man-eating lions of Tsavo

An analysis of the microscopic wear on the teeth of the legendary "man-eating lions of Tsavo" reveals that it wasn't desperation that drove them to terrorize a railroad camp in Kenya more than a century ago.

Scientists discover gene that influences grain yield

Researchers at the Enterprise Rent-A-Car Institute for Renewable Fuels at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center have discovered a gene that influences grain yield in grasses related to food crops. Four mutations were identified that could impact candidate crops for producing renewable and sustainable fuels.

'Happy wife, happy life' meaningful for birds, too

Research from Victoria University of Wellington has shown for the first time that wild male birds read their partner's behaviour to appropriately cater to her food desires.

New insights into DNA repair

A new paper in the prestigious journal Nature from Brandeis researchers in the laboratory of James Haber provides a detailed description of the processes of DNA repair.

Researchers identify gene for adapting to changing seasons

University of Toronto researchers have identified a gene that determines whether the body will adapt to changing seasons.

Study—for the first time—links specific genes with parenting behavior across species

Why is it that some species seem to be particularly attentive parents while others leave their young to fend for themselves? For years, scientists have believed one of the major drivers was experience - an animal raised by an attentive parent, the argument went, was likely to be an attentive parent itself.

High-speed images capture archer fish's rocket-like launch

The archer fish is arguably the ninja of the aquatic world, known for its stealth-like, arrow-straight aim while shooting down unsuspecting prey. Once the fish has sighted its target, it can spit jets of water to dislodge insects from overhanging leaves, making them topple into the water.

Time-lapse cameras provide a unique peek at penguins' winter behavior

Not even the most intrepid researcher wants to spend winter in Antarctica, so how can you learn what penguins are doing during those cold, dark months? Simple: Leave behind some cameras. Year-round studies across the full extent of a species' range are especially important in polar areas, where individuals within a single species may adopt a variety of different migration strategies to get by, and a new study from The Auk: Ornithological Advances uses this unique approach to get new insights into Gentoo Penguin behavior.

Under-studied boreal habitat key for North America's ducks

Knowing where migrating birds came from and where they're headed is essential for their conservation and management. For ducks, most of this information comes from long-term bird-banding programs, but this type of research has limits—despite all the birds harvested by hunters, only a small percentage of banded birds are ever recovered. A new study from The Condor: Ornithological Applications takes on the challenge of gaining information from unbanded birds by using stable isotope ratios, which reflect where birds were living while growing their feathers. These results reveal that the northern reaches of Canada may have underappreciated importance for North America's waterfowl.

Can barnacle geese predict the climate?

The breeding grounds of Arctic migratory birds such as the barnacle goose are changing rapidly due to accelerated warming in the polar regions. They won't be able to keep up with this climate change unless they can somehow anticipate it. A research team from the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) employed computer models to assess the future of the geese and their young. Results are being published online by the scientific journal Global Change Biology.

New mechanism to fight multi-resistant bacteria revealed

In recent years, scientists, clinicians and pharmaceutical companies have struggled to find new antibiotics or alternative strategies against multi-drug resistant bacteria that represent a serious public health problem. In a breakthrough study now published in PLOS Biology, Isabel Gordo and her team at Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (IGC; Portugal) identified a compensatory mechanism in bacteria that might be used in future therapies against multi-drug resistant bacteria.

Researchers track down water pollution through DNA of algae

Diatoms are unicellular algae particularly sensitive to changes that affect their aquatic environment. This is why they are used as bioindicators for the biological monitoring of water quality. However, their microscopic identification in river samples requires a lot of time and skill. Biologists from the University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland, have succeeded in establishing a water quality index based solely on the DNA sequences of the diatoms present in the samples, without needing to identify each species visually. This study, published in the journal Molecular Ecology Resources, presents a revolutionary tool to process a very large number of samples in parallel, allowing wide coverage of the monitored sites in a reduced time and at a lower cost.

Newly developed insecticide and fungus combination could more effectively control, eliminate termites

A new Purdue University-developed technology concept could provide pest control companies with a more effective way to control termites and prevent associated damage. The technology works by targeting the termite's resistance genes that help the insect fight off a known fungus that can effectively eliminate termites.

New video shows how blue whales employ strategy before feeding

Blue whales didn't become the largest animals ever to live on Earth by being dainty eaters and new video captured by scientists at Oregon State University shows just how they pick and choose their meals.

Making oil from algae – towards more efficient biofuels

The mechanism behind oil synthesis within microalgae cells has been revealed by a Japanese research team. This discovery could contribute to the development of biofuels. The findings were published on April 4 in Scientific Reports.

Clues as to why cockroaches are so prolific

Parthenogenesis is a strategy employed by females to reproduce asexually when they find no mating partners available, and is seen in a wide variety of animals, including arthropods, fish, amphibians and reptiles. As opposed to sexual mating which enhances genetic diversity, the asexual strategy is aimed at rapidly generating large numbers of female progeny to expand their habitat.

Bears breed across species borders

Senckenberg scientists have sequenced the entire genomes of four bear species, making it now possible to analyze the evolutionary history of all bears at the genome level. It shows that gene flow, or gene exchange, between species by extensive hybridization, is possible between most bear species - not only polar and brown bear. The DNA samples of different bear species came from different European zoos, underlining their importance not only for conservation, but also for research. The study published today in Scientific Reports also questions the existing species concept in general, because other genome studies too have, frequently found gene flow among species.

Fish cooperate for selfish reasons

Why do animals help raise offspring that aren't their own? A new study by an international team of researchers from Sweden, Canada and the UK shows that fish cooperate to raise another fish's offspring to reduce their own risk of being eaten by a predator.

New study explains extraordinary resilience of deadly bacterium

Researchers at the University of Maryland have identified how the pathogenic bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa uses tension-activated membrane channels to stop itself from swelling up and bursting when it is suddenly exposed to water. The study, which will be published April 19 in The Journal of General Physiology, helps explain how this bacterium—a major cause of hospital-acquired infections—persists in a variety of different environments.

Action required: Invasive fungus is killing European salamanders

A new fungal disease brought in from Asia is threatening European salamanders. Once the amphibians become infected, they die within a brief period of time, as biologists of the universities of Zurich and Ghent have shown in a Nature paper. Because saving the infected populations is still not possible, Switzerland has preventively imposed an import ban for salamanders and newts.

Painkillers relieve zebrafish larvae discomfort

Lynne Sneddon is a myth buster. Having debunked the fisherman's legend that fish don't feel pain, Sneddon, from the University of Liverpool, UK, has become a leading figure in the movement to reduce, replace and refine the use of animals in scientific research.

Sociable crayfish get drunk more easily than loners

Few studies have investigated how prior social experience affects sensitivity to alcohol, but now a study from the University of Maryland shows that sociable crayfish are more sensitive than loners and suggests that similar mechanisms could make humans less sensitive to alcohol, leading them to consume more.

Immature spinner dolphin calf SCUBA tanks spell disaster in tuna fisheries

Dolphins that live in the deep ocean have well developed oxygen storage, but now it turns out that spinner dolphin calves do not develop their SCUBA capacity any faster than coastal species, despite their deep diving lifestyle. Shawn Noren from the University of California, Santa Cruz has also calculated that delays in developing their oxygen storage could place spinner dolphin calves at risk of separation from their mothers during high speed tuna purse seine-fishery pursuits.

Birds vs. bees: Study helps explain how flowers evolved to get pollinators to specialize

Ecologists who study flowering plants have long believed that flowers evolved with particular sets of characteristics—unique combinations of colors, shapes, and orientations, for example—as a means of attracting specific pollinators. But a recent paper in the journal Ecology suggests that flowers that are visited almost exclusively by hummingbirds are actually designed not to lure birds, but to deter bumblebees and their wasteful visits.

Crop-killing armyworm caterpillar reaches Rwanda, Kenya

Rwanda's government announced on Wednesday it had discovered fall armyworm on its crops, making it the third east African country afflicted by the plant-eating pest also recently spotted in Kenya.

Science is core to saving wildlife

The following statement was issued today by Wildlife Conservation Society President and CEO Cristian Samper on the importance of science to wildlife conservation:


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1 comment:

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